This week, I’m sharing one of the things I am thrilled to have learnt at a young age: the power of networking. Read on to see why it’s super important (in my opinion) + to read a few tips on how to do it well 🙂
Let’s look at one’s personal life. I would say we can look at family, but that’s not a good example, because we’re all born with one, but take your circle of friends, for example. How did you become friends with those people? Was it through school? Were they a friend of a friend? Was it at a bar/club? An event? The list could go on and on, but theoretically speaking, your friends are your network, just on a personal level.
Let’s compare this to the business world now, using the same examples as before, but switching now to business environments. Your circle of contacts, those in the same industry as you, how did you get to know them? Was it through your job? Were they someone one of your coworkers know? Was it at a bar/club? An event? Again, the list could go on and on, but these individuals are your network on a professional level.
Take a look at your friends, what do they do for you? Well, most of the time, they accompany you to events, they will provide you with advice, they will help you, support you when needed, and will listen to you. Now, what do you do with your business network? You’ll go to events in the industry with them, or you’ll bump into them there if they’re going as well, you can ask your coworkers for advice on a particular situation, you can call in favors and help when needed, and can give your opinion on different business matters. When I mean giving your opinion, this could be from recommending a person for a particular job they /their company may be hiring for (I’ve seen it first hand how much of an effect personal recommendations have on one’s likelihood of getting the position!), to telling them how both you and their company can work together for mutual benefits and the list can go on and on. THIS is why I believe it is so important to build yourself a professional network. As important as it is to have friends, for all the benefits they provide in your personal life, I think the same importance can be placed on knowing people in your field of interest, for your professional life.
So, how do you build a network in your industry of interest? Here are some tips:
- Attend events in your industry.
- Get over your fear of going up to someone; introduce yourself and compliment the person you’re meeting for the first time. Example: “Hi, my name is Giuliana. It’s such a pleasure to meet you. I wanted to say, I think you did an amazing job working on x track.” (people always like to be flattered, trust me).
- Follow individuals in your industry of choice, on social media (and don’t be a ghost, “like” their stuff!).
- Send cold emails – you know how cold calls used to be a thing? Although they aren’t as popular now, if you have someone’s email address, I would 100% suggest sending them a message, even if you’ve never met. Keep it brief, and simply ask if they may have some tips for you regarding the industry.
- When you meet someone, ask for their business card; better you can contact them, then have to wait for them to contact you.
- Get a LinkedIn; fill out your profile completely, and USE it; so many individuals underestimate the value of this social platform.
- Do your research; this will help you feel more comfortable when you go up to someone and talk to them for the first time.
Stay tuned, because next week, I will be discussing the step that comes after you network and meet someone for the first time, and quite honestly, I think it’s the most important part of it all, and many people forget about it.
Have any other networking tips? Let me know in the comments! ⬇